Strong Core, Sore Feet

This summer, a handful of students attending summer intensives around the country will be sharing their experiences with Pointe. Here, Maddy Graupmann recounts her second week at Houston Ballet.

 

I can’t believe how quickly the time is flying by! It must be because we are so busy all the time. I love a full day’s schedule of dance, though. I remember coming last year after only dancing after school—I don’t think I've ever been more sore than that first week! Now that I've done an entire year with Houston Ballet Academy, dancing all day, I’m pretty used to it, but I still like to get a lot of rest to take care of my body.   

 

My favorite part of last week was our repertoire class. Our level (Level 7) is dancing an excerpt from Serenade and “Friends” from Coppélia. We have rep five times a week for multiple hours each day. But, as is true for professional ballet companies, being in rehearsal doesn’t necessarily mean dancing the entire time. For us, there is a lot of standing and waiting for our cast’s turn to dance. There is always room for improvement, though, so I usually mark the steps while another cast is dancing. This also distracts me from the pain in my feet. Isn’t it weird that when you’re in pointe shoes, it hurts more when you're just standing in them than it does actually dancing? For me, I try to do something other than stand still because it shows better work ethic and my feet thank me after.

 

Another new thing from last week was a helpful correction I received: to lengthen my waist and hold my core stronger. Seems obvious, right? It just slipped to the back of my mind, but since I’ve been thinking about it more, I have been able to turn more, balance longer and my placement has improved.   

 

Time is ticking until the final performance. Serenade is a hard piece because we all have to stay together in very tight and specific formations. We will be cleaning that a lot! “Friends” isn’t as difficult in terms of spacing, but the choreography is more challenging. I can’t wait for my mom to come down and see the performance! She just loves to watch me dance. I can’t believe we’re almost halfway to the performance.

 

I hope all of y’all had a great 4th of July! Talk to you next week!

Ballet Stars
Karolina Kuras, Courtesy NBoC

It's hard to imagine the National Ballet of Canada without ballerina Greta Hodgkinson. Yet this week NBoC announced that the longtime company star will take her final bow in March, as Marguerite in Sir Frederick Ashton's Marguerite and Armand.

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Sponsored by BLOCH
Courtesy BLOCH

Today's ballet dancer needs a lot from a pointe shoe. "What I did 20 years ago is not what these dancers are doing now," says New York City Ballet shoe manager Linnette Roe. "They are expected to go harder, longer days. They are expected to go from sneakers, to pointe shoes, to character shoes, to barefoot and back to pointe shoes all in a day."

The team at BLOCH developed their line of Stretch Pointe shoes to address dancer's most common complaints about the fit and performance of their pointe shoes. "It's a scientific take on the pointe shoe," says Roe. Dancers are taking notice and Stretch Pointe shoes are now worn by stars like American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, who stars in BLOCH's latest campaign for the shoes.

We dug into the details of Stretch Pointe's most game-changing features:

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News
Alice Pennefather, Courtesy ROH

You ever just wish that Kenneth MacMillan's iconic production of Romeo and Juliet could have a beautiful love child with the 1968 film starring Olivia Hussey? (No, not Baz Luhrmann's version. We are purists here.)

Wish granted: Today, the trailer for a new film called Romeo and Juliet: Beyond Words was released, featuring MacMillan's choreography and with what looks like all the cinematic glamour we could ever dream of:

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Viral Videos

What do Diana Vishneva, Olga Smirnova, Kristina Shapran and Maria Khoreva all have in common? These women, among the most impressive talents to graduate from the Vaganova Ballet Academy in recent years, all studied under legendary professor Lyudmila Kovaleva. Kovaleva, a former dancer with the Kirov Ballet (now the Mariinsky), is beloved by her students and admired throughout the ballet world for her ability to pull individuality and artistry out of the dancers she trains. Like any great teacher, Kovaleva is remarkably generous with her wealth of knowledge; it seems perfect, then, that she appears as the Fairy of Generosity in this clip from a 1964 film of the Kirov's The Sleeping Beauty.

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